Thursday, November 17, 2011

Indie Artist Showcase 101

Last night I went to an indie artist showcase. 2 things happened while I was there. I was reminded why I stopped going to indie showcases was the first. The second was, I was reminded why I go to them. I'm not going to name the showcase or where it was. What I will do is speak on some of the things that irked me. Showcases are nothing new and there are some very simple rules to follow to protect the integrity of your name/event and keep people coming back.

1. RSVP aka Let me see if anybody is even coming.

If you send out an e-mail saying that people can RSVP for free entrance, be sure to actually compile and monitor the list. If you have a limit to the RSVP list, say so. Also notify guests who RSVP after your cutoff via e-mail 2-4 hours before your scheduled start time. It's more professional. It's the courteous thing to do. It's thoroughly annoying when a guest reads that entrance is free with RSVP and then he/she arrives at the venue and is charged. It makes you look like a lying douche bag. (Which you probably are if you didn't do what I'm talking about.)

2. Raffles aka The dangling carrot trick.

If you SELL raffle tickets and you claim there are prizes to be won. Everything that you listed should be drawn for whether your crowd is 10, 100 or 1000. You should also set a finite time for the raffle to happen. People don't stay for long showcases so thinking that holding the raffle until the end will keep people around is just stupid. What you will do is limit your raffle ticket sales to next to nothing. Not raffling off what you said you would is false advertising and, more importantly, bad business. Saying you have X number of Y to raffle off and none of it actually was makes you look like a lying douche bag. Trying to lie and say that some of it was is proof that you are. Especially when the person you're lying to was there from the time the show started to the time the last person performed.(Ahem.)

3. Performance Order aka Why is this dope performer playing to a crowd of 5?

Indie artists need help. Showcases serve the purpose of helping small acts gain exposure. However, there are still some rules to who performs when. If you have no fan base and could only convince your Mom and three cousins to come support you; Sorry, you're opening for whoever showed up on time or closing for whoever is left. Show order should move from a hum to a roar. It's completely stupid for an artist that has toured nationally and brought two backup dancers to be waiting around for hours to perform for a tired and listless crowd of 15. He/She should be in the middle of the show helping to ramp the energy up. If you can't figure this out as a promoter, you're doomed. (Get your $#!7 together!)

4. Hosting aka Wait.....what?

You can't do it all. Even if you can, you shouldn't. You can't be 1 of 3 hosts and performing. Have one host that is knowledgeable, engaging and good at keeping the show moving. Having 3 and 4 hosts swapping in and out at random completely wrecks the flow of the show. Definitely don't get up on stage to co-host and then break out into 16 bars. Come on, Son! How am I supposed to take you seriously as an artist when you can't just be an artist? (Neeeeext.)

These are just 4 simple rules to follow. This is NYC. There are a million other showcases out there. Truly separate your event by being above and beyond the competition in guest experience. Especially when you are attempting to start a periodic event. Abuse your guests and artists and your event won't last beyond 3 iterations.

Tell 'em Rox said that!